Q: In a world in which healthcare and technology seem to be changing so quickly, has education adapted quickly enough?
A: Medical education has certainly made considerable strides in recent years. However, there is a long way to go in order to shift the focus of medical education from information delivery—which is becoming less critical, given the ready access to information that most learners have—to helping learners become effective critical thinkers and life-long learners. Further, in graduate medical education, it is difficult to devote time to learning due to patient care demands. Taking advantage of the teachable moment that exists in every consultation request is a tremendous opportunity to enhance learners’ clinical reasoning skills and enhance workplace-based learning.
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Q: What changes would you make to rheumatology education going forward, particularly as the specialty needs to attract more residents?
A: There are many attractive aspects to our field; however, students and residents often have little exposure to rheumatology and may be further dissuaded from considering the field by their relative lack of clinical skill and knowledge about our specialty in comparison with other subspecialties. Maximizing rheumatology teaching opportunities during medical school and residency is an important component of the effort to attract trainees to rheumatology. Studies have shown that subspecialty fellows have an impact on internal medicine resident career choice.2,3 Fellows have the most opportunity to interact with students and residents during inpatient consultation. Therefore, enhancing fellow teaching skills may make an impact on attracting residents to our specialty. Speaking from personal experience, I began to consider a career in rheumatology in large part because the rheumatology fellows I consulted as an intern were great teachers and did a great job conveying their enthusiasm for the specialty.
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.
- Miloslavsky EM, Criscione-Schreiber LG, Jonas BL, et al. Fellow as teacher curriculum: Improving rheumatology fellows’ teaching skills during in-patient consultation. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2016 Jun;68(6):877–881. doi: 10.1002/acr.22733.
- Horn L, Tzanetos K, Thorpe K, et al. Factors associated with the subspecialty choices of internal medicine residents in Canada. BMC Med Educ. 2008 Jun 26;8:37.
- Kolasinski SL, Bass AR, Kane-Wanger GF, et al. Subspecialty choice: Why did you become a rheumatologist? Arthritis Rheum. 2007 Dec 15;57(8):1546–1551.